Getting customer feedback is so axiomatic that we scarcely have any interactions with a business without being invited to take a survey. Even after using the bathroom! Who hasn’t seen an instant satisfaction survey in a restroom position for you to choose one of three faces matching your satisfaction with the experience?
In the homeless services arena, feedback isn’t always sought. When it is, it often is done by the staff. How honest is the feedback about the services likely to be when the service provider conducts the survey, watching as you answer questions on a written form?
Patron uses Pulse For Good kiosk to offer feedback.
Credit: Pulse For Good
Matthew Melville, the Homeless Services Director for Catholic Community Services of Utah, was excited when he was introduced to Pulse for Good. “This was very exciting for me to hear because many times in our industry (homelessness) the people actually using the services have little input in decisions that affect them daily.”
“I wanted to give our guests a way of giving feedback to us through a third party,” Melville says.
Pulse For Good provides small kiosks guests can use to provide instant feedback. The system aggregates the data to help its service provider customers make sense of it, helping to analyze it both quantitatively and qualitatively.
Catholic Community Services of Utah is using the Pulse for Good kiosks at two homeless services locations in Salt Lake City. It uses the kiosks to gather feedback from both guests and volunteers.
Melville says the surveys help in many ways. “. Our guests give us great feedback on the cleanliness of our buildings and even which work shifts need to step up their game. We are able to adjust some of our service hours to better accommodate people that are working because they leave us great feedback.”
CCS also provides reports from the system with the board of directors and major funders so they can see more directly how guests are reacting to the services they receive.
“The survey also helps us see how well we are engaging with our volunteers. After a volunteer shift, we encourage everyone to take a survey and let us know what their experience was like, what we can improve on and if they would recommend us to a friend or family member,” Melville says. “Just the simple fact that we want to hear their opinion goes a long way. As with all of our pulse surveys we talk about our most recent week’s responses at all of our departmental staff meetings. This way we are able to address concerns quickly.”
The process doesn’t end there for CCS. “We also host weekly “Town Halls” with our guests where we go over the past weeks responses and ask for additional feedback. This is a very important aspect of these surveys. We want our guests to know that their responses do not just go sit on a desk somewhere and never get addressed. The Town Hall’s let them know we are serious about wanting their feedback and acting on it to make their experience with us better which will help future guests at the same time,” Melville says.
Credit: Pulse For Good
Pulse For Good CEO and co-founder, Blake Kohler, who still works a day job so he can pursue this passion project on the side, shared a specific example of the effectiveness of the feedback loop.
Some guests in a homeless shelter reported that they wanted curtains in the showers for privacy. After some consideration, the curtains were installed. The feedback was instantaneous and positive. The guests not only benefited from the dignity of privacy in the showers but also from the respect of being heard.